CD69 is expressed on platelets and mediates platelet activation and aggregation

Roberto Testi, Fabio Pulcinelli, Luigi Frati, Pier Paolo Gazzaniga, Angela Santoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


CD69, a surface dimer so far considered an early activation antigen restricted to lymphocytes, was found constitutively expressed on human platelets. Biochemical analysis revealed that platelet CD69 appears on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis as a broad 55-65-kD band, in which three 55-, 60-, and 65-kD components were detectable when nonreduced, and as two 28- and 32-kD bands when reduced, corresponding to the two disulfide-linked chains of the dimer. It therefore closely resembles lymphoid CD69, although the resolution of the three bands under nonreducing conditions is not usually seen in lymphoid cells. Moreover, as CD69 expressed on activated lymphocytes and CD3bright thymocytes, both chains are constitutively phosphorylated. CD69 stimulation by anti-Leu-23 monoclonal antibodies induced platelet aggregation in a dose-dependent fashion. This effect was associated with Ca2+ influx and platelet degranulation, as revealed by adenosine triphosphate release. In addition, CD69 stimulation in platelets induced production of thromboxane B2 and PGE2, suggesting activation of arachidonic acid metabolism by cycloxygenase. As observed for CD69-mediated T cell activation, platelet activation through CD69 requires molecular crosslinking. These results suggest that CD69 may function as an activating molecule on platelets, as on lymphocytes, and point toward a more general role of this surface dimer in signal transduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)701-707
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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